Ms. Andrea Sreshta is co-founder of LuminAID, a company that makes portable, long-lasting, solar-powered lighting solutions. Among other notable achievements, LuminAID was featured on Season 6 of ABC’s Shark Tank and received offers from all five Sharks.
W = wegg®
A = Andrea Sreshta
W: Welcome Andrea Sreshta of @LuminAIDLab. We are looking forward to hearing your amazing story!
A: Thank you for having me! Looking forward to chatting!
W: Tell us about yourself. What were you doing prior to LuminAID?
A: I was a student. First in architecture grad school – where LuminAID tech was invented – and then business school.
W: What motivated you to invent LuminAID tech – portable, long-lasting, solar-powered lighting solutions?
A: LuminAID tech was designed in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. We felt solar lights could help after dark.
W: What an entrepreneurial way to solve a problem! Is anyone else in your family an entrepreneur?
A: Entrepreneur, no. But sales, yes, which has been a helpful perspective to have.
W: What was the first product you launched commercially at LuminAID?
A. A solar inflatable light that packed flat like a rectangle and inflated to become a lantern. See here: bit.ly/32FyOuF
W: Did you know right away about getting a patent? If so, did you secure one domestically and internationally?
A: Not right away. We got advice from our school’s tech transfer office. We do have U.S. and international patents.
Question from @EscapeCorporate: How long did it take you to launch your first product?
A: We prototyped and experimented with designs for just under a year.
W: How did you field test the product to make sure it worked and that there was a demand for it?
A: We worked with a few charitable orgs in off-grid areas of the world to test out our lights and provide feedback.
W: Let’s jump to your Shark Tank television appearance. How did you get to appear on the program?
A: We applied through a contact form abc.com. And then producers got in touch!
W: Was that experience a game changer for the company?
A: Yes definitely. Best commercial for LuminAID we could ever have wished for!
W: How has having Mark Cuban as an investor fueled your growth?
A: Mark and team have been great, especially in helping us grow our digital e-commerce channels. They know their stuff!
W: I’m sure @mcuban is very proud of what you have accomplished!
W: About digital e-commerce – how far along were you in your business growth when you set up e-commerce on your website?
A: Luminaid.com was the first thing we set up and also Amazon. But Mark and team helped us turbocharge both.
W: Do you use other e-commerce mechanisms besides your website and Amazon?
A: We list on some other online retail sites like rei.com. But primarily luminaid.com and Amazon.
W: What key lesson in setting up e-commerce platforms did you learn that might be of help to the weggchat audience?
A: With respect to ecommerce sites: change will be constant. Always be on the lookout for things + tools that can help your site grow.
W: In collecting payment from customers, are you dealing strictly in US dollars or do you accept all currencies for payment?
A: USD through www.luminaid.com. We transact local on Amazon UK, EU, and AUS.
W: Where do you see your business five years from now?
A: Hard to say since the last 5 years have been surprising in good ways! We want to keep working to help those in need.
W: Final question – what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: Put one foot in front of the other and stay focused on next steps.
W: Thank you, Andrea Sreshta, for being our guest on weggchat and best wishes for continued success! You are a great example of how one idea can make a difference in millions of lives!
A: Thank you for having me @weggtoday. Looking forward to following future weggchats!
W: Thank you to our sponsors @BankofAmerica @AssociatedBank @FedEx @Greensfelder @UnionPacific @apcoworldwide #globalcareclinicaltrials
This concludes our weggchat® – check womenentrepreneursgrowglobal.org from time to time for info on the next weggchat.